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All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair, Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table, than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapors dense A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Come from the influence of an unseen star,
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd Into the realm of mystery and night, —
So from the world of spirits there descends A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends, Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE.
In the village churchyard she lies,
No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;
But their dust is white as hers.
Was she a lady of high degree,
And foolish pomp of this world of ours?
Or was it Christian charity,
The richest and rarest of all dowers?
Who shall tell us? No one speaks;
Either of anger or of pride,
By those who are sleeping at her side.
Hereafter ? — And do you think to look On the terrible pages of that Book
To find her failings, faults, and errors? Ah, you will then have other cares, In your own short-comings and despairs,
In your own secret sins and terrors!